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FEBS Lett. 2002 Apr 24;517(1-3):103-9.

Yeast Npi3/Bro1 is involved in ubiquitin-dependent control of permease trafficking.

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Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire, Institut de Biologie et de Médecine Moléculaires, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Gosselies, Belgium.


The membrane traffic and stability of the general amino acid permease Gap1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae are under nitrogen control. Addition of a preferential nitrogen source such as ammonium to cells growing on a poor nitrogen source induces internalization of the permease and its subsequent degradation in the vacuole. This down-regulation requires ubiquitination of Gap1 through a process involving ubiquitin ligase Npi1/Rsp5, ubiquitin hydrolase Npi2/Doa4, and Bul1/2, two Npi1/Rsp5 interacting proteins. Here we report that yet another protein, Npi3, is involved in the regulation of Gap1 trafficking. We show that Npi3 is required for NH4+-induced down-regulation of Gap1, and particularly for efficient ubiquitination of the permease. Npi3 plays a pleiotropic role in permease down-regulation, since it is also involved in ubiquitination and stress-induced down-regulation of the uracil permease Fur4 and in glucose-induced degradation of hexose transporters Hxt6/7. We further provide evidence that Npi3 is required for direct vacuolar sorting of neosynthesized Gap1 permease as it occurs in npr1 mutant cells. NPI3 is identical to BRO1, a gene encoding a protein of unknown biochemical function and recently proposed to be involved in protein turnover. Npi3/Bro1 homologues include fungal proteins required for proteolytic cleavage of zinc finger proteins and the mouse Aip1 protein involved in apoptosis. We propose that proteins of the Npi3/Bro1 family, including homologues from higher species, may play a conserved role in ubiquitin-dependent control of membrane protein trafficking.

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